What do Al Sharpton, O.J. Simpson, Donald Trump, and INXS have in common? They'll all still have something resembling a life after their reality TV shows tank. You know reality programming is destined to go the way of the dodo when surreal spoofs like the Daily Mirror's Quarantine attract 200 contestants eager to be locked in a lab and exposed to infectious diseases: Whoever outlasts Hepatitis B, the plague, and smallpox wins £100,000. Steal that, Fox TV!
But old Survivors never die; they just fade away -- wearing pasties, top hats, and fringed bikinis. In case you've already deleted from memory the names, hobbies, and favorite liqueurs of the has-been glamour-pusses who starred in last year's reality shows, America's ex-sweethearts plan to bump and grind their way back into the limelight. This weekend, Reality Revue, a Vegas-style burlesque show, opens its national tour at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, starring Survivor: Amazon Queen Bee Jenna Morasca and spider-bitten also-ran Heidi Strobel, Joe Millionaire ultrabeeyotch Sarah Kozer, jilted valley girl Paige Jones of For Love or Money, and Catherine "I'm Dating an Idiot!" Chiarelli of Temptation Island II.
The promoters promise entertainment for the whole family -- that is, "the adults in the family, like your wife," Jones pipes in -- so hire a baby sitter. Apart from their on-screen debaucheries, these buff and scantily clad kittens sport a collective history that includes lesbian-themed Playboy centerfolds, a string of DUIs, and the now-infamous foot-fetish bondage videos. (And just for the record, Sarah Kozer insists she's never for an instant regretted making those videos.) If the girls can keep from clawing one another's fishnets to ribbons, they might just make it through a fun-filled evening of dance numbers and feelingly delivered monologues offering a "behind the scenes" look at their 15 minutes of fame.
"I've lost ten pounds since we started rehearsing," Jones burbles. Jones, who narrowly missed bagging prince charming on For Love or Money, got involved with Reality Revue when she showed up for a blind audition and met producer Jimmy Quill, and he fell for her. The two lovebirds collaborated on creating the Revue, which they originally envisioned as -- guess what? -- a new reality show. Jones tracked down the other reality girls, convinced them to participate, and wrote the show's dialogue. "The skits are a spoof on reality TV," Jones says; they poke fun at current faves like The Apprentice and The Bachelor. "Sometimes reality shows are a great experience," she says, "but sometimes they're not. [In Reality Revue] each reality girl gets to tell her own story." Strobel, who lost 25 pounds during the filming of Survivor: Amazon (she whittled down to a cadaverous 87 pounds), "talks about how she had nothing to eat for 39 days except worms." At least a couple of the girls had to learn to sing and dance from scratch. "We went from being clumsy fools to graceful women," Jones says. Sounds like a future episode of The Swan. -- Gail Shepherd